The Pumpkin Patch by Margaret McNamara - Teaching Ideas

Katie's class is going to the pumpkin patch and she is SOOO excited. She has visions in her head of the most perfect pumpkin that she is going to find. At the pumpkin patch Katie looks and looks until it is time to go and then she spots it, the most perfect pumpkin. Katie is so excited about her pumpkin, that is, until the other kids in the class start to comment on how small it is. These comments make Katie start to think that maybe her pumpkin isn't so perfect after all. By the time Katie gets home she is so upset that her pumpkin is not perfect. Katie's dad helps her to see how wrong she is, he shows her just how perfect her pumpkin is and the next day Katie shows her class just how perfect her pumpkin is, and they all agree! 

This is a great book for your independent reader to read and how great would it be for you to have something for them to work on before, during or after their reading. Use the information below to help you create something for your kids.

Reading level: 1.4
Theme: school, holiday
Genre: fiction

Suggested Vocabulary: pumpkin patch

Reading skills and strategies:
  • asking questions - {possible questions before}I wonder who is going to the pumpkin patch. {possible questions during} I wonder if Katie will find that perfect pumpkin? {possible questions after}I wonder why Katie made a pie out of the pumpkin instead of carve it? **Remember to have your students answer/reflect their questions.
  • author's point of view - third person. Find three pieces of text evidence to prove this.
  • author's purpose - entertain{evidence} The drawings are cute. The kids were holding the pumpkins silly ways, like on their heads. Katie's picture shows her with wheat in her hair. All these things are pretty silly.
  • beginning, middle, end - {most important event from beginning} The class was taking a field trip to the pumpkin patch. {most important event from middle} Katie brought home a small pumpkin. {most important event from end} Katie and her dad turned her pumpkin onto a pie.
  • cause and effect - Why were the kids putting on their coats? because they were going to the pumpkin patch. Why did Katie think her pumpkin was not perfect? because it was very small. Why did Katie's dad think her pumpkin was good? because it was perfect for making a pie. Why did the kids at school think Katie's pumpkin was perfect? because she brought in the pie.
  • characterization - describe Katie {looks like, feelings, thoughts, character}
  • classify & categorize - pumpkins into categories - tall, fat, big, small
  • compare & contrast - Ayanna's pumpkin to Katie's pumpkin.
  • connections - {possible text-to-self connections} Going on a field trip. Going to a pumpkin patch. Picking your own pumpkin. Making a pumpkin pie. Having someone say something about you or something you have that makes you start to feel bad.
  • drawing conclusions & inferencing - Why do you think Katie felt so bad that her pumpkin was small. {text clues}Katie thought her pumpkin was perfect, then the kids in her class all looked at her pumpkin and commented on how small it was. {what I know} When someone says something about something of mine it might make me feel a little bad. {my conclusion} I think Katie felt bad because the other kids said how small her pumpkin was and they didn't think it was perfect.
  • fact & opinion - {facts} Most pumpkins are orange. Pumpkins are in the squash family. Pumpkins have seeds. Pumpkins grow from vines. Pumpkin vines have big leaves. {opinions} I love pumpkin pie. Pumpkins are easy to grow. Pumpkin seeds are delicious. Pumpkins are always big. Pumpkins are hard to carve.
  • main idea & details - {main idea} Katie wants to find a perfect pumpkin. {details} She looked under vines. She looked in the straw. She looked in the mud. She and her dad turned her pumpkin into a pie.
  • plot - the turning point or climax in the story is when the kids on the bus comment on how small Katie's pumpkin is.
  • predict - What do you think the story is going to be about? Do you think Katie will find the perfect pumpkin? What kind of pumpkin do you think Katie will find? What do you think Katie will do with the pumpkin when she gets it home?
  • problem & solution - {problem} Katie doesn't think her pumpkin is perfect anymore. {solution} Her dad helps her make a pumpkin pie with her pumpkin and now it is perfect.
  • sequencing - The kids get their coats. Katie dreams of her perfect pumpkin. The kids get to the pumpkin patch. Katie looks under vines. Katie looks in the straw. Katie looks in the mud. Katie finds the perfect pumpkin. The kids get back on the bus. The kids tell Katie that her pumpkin is small. Katie feels bad because her pumpkin is small and not perfect. Katie shows her dad the pumpkin. Katie and her dad make a pumpkin pie. Katie brings the pie to school and the kids think her pumpkin was perfect.
  • story elements - list title, author, character's, setting, beginning, middle, end, or problem & solution.
  • summarize - {someone}Katie {wanted} wanted the perfect pumpkin {but} but the other kids thought it was very small {so} so she felt bad {then} then her dad said it was perfect. {finally} Finally the kids at school thought it was perfect because Katie brought the pie to school.
  • visualize - what Katie's pumpkin looked like.

If you would like your students to practice predicting, here is a freebie just for them.

You can download this from either one of my stores.
 If you plan on downloading this please take a minute to pin it on Pinterest, I would consider it your thank you to me :) and I would surely appreciate it!

Happy reading!


  1. You have such wonderful thoughts and questions on your book summaries. Is it possible to print these out?

    1. Hi Sandy,
      Thank you. I don't have them available for print but you can copy the information from the post and paste it into a word document then save or print. I hope that helps.


Thoughts and comments are always welcome!